Thursday, February 28, 2008

This Shouldn't Bother Me But...

It's three days later, and this is still sticking in my craw. Basically, what happened was this...

Monday, my good buddy Bob Skir and I stopped for lunch over at the Sherman Oaks Galleria branch of the Fuddruckers hamburger chain for a quick lunch. Deciding I wanted something other than a burger for a change, I studied the huge menu on the wall behind the counter and decided to order the Chicken Tenders platter which included (according to the menu) a bunch of Chicken Tenders (always preferred to the Chicken Toughs) and two side dishes. The price (again, according to the wall menu) was $7.99. So the perky young woman behind the counter asks for my order, I order the Chicken Tenders platter with onion rings and baked beans as my two side dishes (Hey, I said I didn't want a burger, I never said I wanted to eat healthy) and the young woman rings it up and tells me my bill comes to $9.73.

Now, I'm no math whiz, but even I know that the California State 8.25% Sales Tax doesn't bring the total up to over nine bucks. I mention this to the young lady and she explains that, no, the Chicken Tenders platter isn't $7.99, it's actually $8.99. I point to the menu behind her and point out that the posted price is $7.99 and, by law, they have to sell the item for the price listed. She, in turn, asks me if I'd like to speak to her manager. I tell her, you bet I do.

So over comes the manager, a somewhat older woman in her mid-thirties, and we go over the whole thing again. She explains that, yes, indeed, the basic platter price is $7.99, but it costs fifty cents each for each additional side, bringing the total to $8.99. Totally confused now, I mumble something about that still not seeming right, but since Bob and I are up against the clock, trying to make an afternoon movie, I just fork over ten bucks, collect my change, and go sit down to await my meal.

While sitting there with Bob, I recount what I just told you and he says that doesn't sound right to him either. Bob goes over, checks the menu, and comes back to tell me that, no, the menu specifically states that a platter is a main dish and two side dishes. Anything more than that is an additional fifty cents.

Really getting annoyed now, I decide to go talk to the manager again, and turn just in time to see her leaving the restaurant, purse in hand (obviously on her way to lunch at some establishment that doesn't rip you off), leaving me to stew in my own juices (which, frankly, probably makes me tastier in the long run than the meal I finally had).

So there you have it. For the sake of a buck, Fuddruckers has forever lost both my considerable good will and my ongoing custom. Seems like a pretty bad deal over all, don'cha think?

This has been another exciting WeinWords consumer warning public service announcement.


Anonymous said...

Len! Sorry, but a buck is a buck and as much as time allows I'd go mmedieval on them. A letter to corporate is always a nice start, but I've gotten more satisfaction out of a quick phone call, and as it happens I usally manage to worm in a sentence about contacting the states Attorney General (you're in California...seems to me that state has a lovely group of consumer watchdogs).

It's not the buck-it's the principle of the thing. Why should you or anybody be taken advantage of?

You're not doing this for yourself Len. It's for the poor starving children.

Ah...the children....

Roger Owen Green said...

I've taken to task some Dunkin' Donuts for charging sales tax on non-Sales taxable items,; while not boycotting the chain, I've avoided those particular outlets.

So, good for you, Len, and the AG's office IS an option in most states. In fact, some record company was threatenening me for money I didn't owe them and I THREATENED them with the NYS AG's office andf they backed down quickly.

Kurt Busiek said...

You've already typed the story up, Len. Go here:

...and let them know. Aside from it landing the people who lied to you in trouble, it'll likely get you some sort of make-good for your trouble.

If one location screwed you over, you should give the parent company the chance to make it up to you -- after all, Fuddrucker's is a pretty good restaurant, and it'd be a shame for them to lose your custom over one bad manager without a chance to fix the problem.


Hypersonic said...

Ack! I get this shinola all the time, here in Brazil the chainm restaurants always have some frickin' hidden charges or miniscule writing on their menus and signs. I just get ugly and start shouting and they either throw me out or they give me what I want.